Part of Middle Mountain in the George Washington National Forest,
and sister hike to the Duncan Knob Hollow Hike, the Duncan Knob hike offers solitude, a rock scrabble, and
great views of the Massanutten Range and Shenandoah Valley.
Water is scarce over most of the hike, so make sure to bring
At 1.3 miles come to a
four way junction and the yellow blazed Scothorn Gap Trail you
have been on turns left. Directly ahead is the orange blazed Massanutten
Trail, which you will use to return. To the right is Massanutten
Turn left on Scothorn Gap Trail, the trail gradually rises and passes a small clearing
before coming to the junction
of blue blazed Gap Creek Trail after 1.5 miles from turning left at
Turn right onto blue blazed Gap Creek Trail as it ascends steeply to the ridge line in 0.3 miles. On the ridge line is a white blazed trail on the left. This
leads you to Duncan Knob in 0.3 miles, requiring scrambling
over rocks in places to get there.
To continue the hike return
to Gap Creek Trail and Turn left. Note: it is easy to miss the trail
on the way back, the white blazes in the rock field are hard
to find. Just remain on the ridge line and you will reestablish
the white trail if you miss it.
Turn right on Massanutten Trail for 1.8 miles. Veer right steeply
upward for another 0.4 miles then descending 0.7 miles and returning
to the four way junction you turned left at on the way up earlier.
Massanutten Connector Trail turns left here.
on the yellow blazed Scothorn Gap Trail 1.3 miles, re-crossing Passage
Creek and returning to the parking area.
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Reviews For The Duncan Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
Hiked this route 05/25/14. Some of the views were great from the top of the knob. Otherwise, not a great hike - at this time of year, it was very muddy and gnats were all up in our biz. And the ticks were pretty out of control as well - my dog got 14 of them on the day hike. Probably wouldn't want to overnight this route during this season.
Date of Hike: Friday, December 27, 2013
Nice views and a good length for us. My gps said it was 8.9 miles as mapped. We didn't have trouble finding the Scothorn Trail, but that may be due to it being winter (and having the gps with us). Much of the Scothorn Trail is water/ice and mud. Do not hike this trail without waterproof boots if the weather has been wet.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 19, 2013
We did this trail as a one night and camped at the base of Duncan Knob. Since the main campground (huge) there was taken by late afternoon and the one halfway up Duncan Knob was occupied, we went a little further back from the trail crossings and luckily found a small campsite nestled in the woods, next to a large rock. This was a really pretty hike for the fall, but VERY crowded. We passed at least 20 people and several groups. If you're looking for solitude, you won't find it on this trail (maybe it was just because it was nice a fall weekend?). But it was a great workout and the view from Duncan Knob is beautiful.
Date of Hike: Friday, June 28, 2013
Hiked Duncan knob for my gf's birthday. Having done it before, we did not read the recent reviews here on Hiking Upward...oops. Our intent was to do an out and back hike in order to save some time, however we ended up doing the entire loop because we missed a key intersection.
As the previous poster has said, the Scothorn Gap trail is no longer well marked, perhaps due to the controlled burn, perhaps due to lack of any sort of trail maintenance. We missed the 1 mile turn off, just as they did, and ended up turning left onto the Massanutten. After hiking for awhile and not coming to the white trail, I knew something was wrong. Then we started descending...uh oh.
Anyhow, eventually we hit another marker and I realized our error. We ended up doing the loop in reverse. We turned left onto the blue trail and eventually turned right onto the white trail which leads to the scramble. Someone has placed a well-sized cairn to mark the return to the white trail from the scramble, a nice addition. On the way back we hit the junction with the yellow Scothorn Gap Trail. The blazes stop after soon after and this trail is very overgrown. We each picked up a few tickshere, so be on the lookout. There was an unmarked intersection about 1 mile from the previous junction, we headed straight (vs right) and I believe that was the correct choice.
Finally we came back to the intersection with the Massanutten and saw how we missed the Scothorn Gap trail in the beginning. After walking through a muddy section of trail that has a rudimentary log bridge covering the mud, the main trail clearly heads to the Massanutten and the Scothorn Gap trail is so overgrown that we didn't even realize it was there! If you reach the 4 way intersection with the Massanutten you have gone too far! Turn around and head about 50 yards backwards and look for the overgrown Scothorn Gap trail if you want to do the conventional loop or an out/back hike.
With a fun scramble and an awesome view, Duncan knob is really a great hike. We managed to see plenty of wild life too - turtle, snake, deer. Although the remnants of the controlled burn were obvious, plenty of foliage is growing in and we had some nice cover from the sun. Our biggest complaint was the condition of the Scothorn Gap trail. It needs to be blazed again.
Date of Hike: Saturday, May 25, 2013
One of my favorite loops not far from DC. We saw a wild turkey with chicks. The cicadas were really making noise in one area. After dinner, we were greeted by the cutest mouse at our campsite (located at the intersection of Massanutten and Gap Creek Trail). Clearly he has eaten scraps before and this required us to hang our bags from a nearby tree to avoid being chewed during the night.
I last did this loop a year ago and was surprised to see that a fire had gone through this area quite recently. Some sleuthing revealed a prescribed burn back in April. Everything is burned inside of the loop between the Strickler and Duncan Knobs and down the mountain almost to Crisman Hollow. While it was really neat to see all the new growth on the forest floor, there is very little tree cover over a large portion of this loop, leaving you exposed to the sun. Also, the fire crew bulldozed the fire roads, pushing rocks and debris off to the side. You can easily walk three wide without brushing the bushes. It's quite a mess and the water erosion is pretty bad. Very muddy over large portions of the trail. You pretty much hike with nice green woods on one side of the trail and burned woods on the other. If I were to do this loop, I would go in cooler weather until the tree cover returns. The only good thing now is you won't be attacked by the briars on the Massanutten trail as in years past!